How Does Negative Public Relations Impact the Gaming Industry

Often more than not public relations in the game industry is an extension of the art of game design (Thomsen 2009). Public relations sell audiences the existence of a world created to respond to their interactive needs. However, if used incorrectly can make consumers run from or resent the game.

Limitations and Scope and Analytical Framework

Like discussed in my project pitch, I will be focusing on the recent incident surrounding copyright with Borderlands 3 publisher, 2K Games. The incident that had private investigators sent to a YouTubers house with alleged copyright infringement (Alston, 2019). The claim was serious enough to prompt fans to take to Twitter and start a #BoycottBorderlands3 campaign (Byrd 2019) and is the overarching focus of my visual essay.

However, in order to develop an accurate and well-rounded understanding of the topic, I plan to conduct further research on the history of public relations in the game media. Looking at this I will use the example of Nintendo and their history and public relations as a comparative topic.

I will also use the topics below to guide the discussion of my visual essay:

  • Can the power of PR be used to successfully sell a game?
  • What happens when PR sells a game that’s different from one developer was intending to make?
  • What happens when the secretes turn into giant anticlimaxes?

To guide the discussion of my visual essay. However, it should be noted that I am still in the ideation process for my topic and the topics above are speculated and may be subject to change.


Weeks 4-6 – Research about my topic, gather as many secondary sources and look at multiple paratexts to gain a broad understanding of the issue of negative public relation in the gaming industry.

Week 7-9 – Start audience engagement, look at ways audiences will be attracted to my topic and form a platform for communication and discussion about the 2K Games topic and/or other topics related to copyright in the gaming industry.

Week 8-10 – Use audience feedback and develop a feedback loop. Construct my final project using paratexts, secondary sources, and personal ideas development through the 10 week period.

Audience Engagement

Throughout the course of my Digital Artifact, mainly through weeks seven to nine, I will be integrating content onto Twitter and Reddit. This content will be comprised of questions specifically about the Borderlands 3 and their publisher 2K Games incident and how their public relations ‘fixed’ the situation as well as broader questions and topics. These topics include and are not limited to the history of game media and copyright, public relations and its impact on the industry, other examples of PR having a negative effect on games and if these negative approaches from PR controlled the consumers purchasing power.

I am choosing to use Twitter as a platform to target students of BCM as well as other individuals interested in gaming, copyright or public relations by using the hashtags. Similarly, I also thought Reddit would be a good avenue to pursue conversation as it can branch to a wider audience. Overall, this will give me a broad sample size of ideas and thoughts that I can discuss in my final project.

Digital Artifact Format 

Lastly, as discussed in my project pitch I plan to conduct my assessment in the form of a visual essay. However, depending on audience feedback I may switch to podcasts. In this case, I will do one every two weeks (4 podcasts in total) dividing my content into topics. These topics are listed below:

  1. Overview of public relations and its use in the gaming industry.
  2. Looking at the Borderland 3 incident and PR impact.
  3. Comparing the above incident with Nintendo and their copyright history (drawing out the impact of their PR and what was different).
  4. Responding to any questions or related topics addressed and discovered through audience feedback. Wrapping up the topic.

Below are some sources and points of reference that I aim to use throughout the course of my Digital Artifact journey.


Public Relations in the Game Industry

Brightman, J. (2017). How games PR can work more effectively with the media. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2019].

Channon, C. (2019). Is it Game Over for traditional PR?. [online] Available at:[Accessed 15 Aug. 2019].

Ferenchak, Z. (2019). PR in the Gaming Industry. [online] PRSA Content Connection. Available at:[Accessed 15 Aug. 2019].

Borderlands 3 and Publisher 2K Games Incident

Alexander, J. (2019). 2K Games defends “necessary actions” against YouTuber who shared Borderlands 3 leaks. [online] The Verge. Available at: [Accessed 12 Aug. 2019].

Alston, H. (2019). Borderlands 3 Publisher 2K Games Files Copyright Claims Against YouTube Creator For Using Publically Available Content. [online] Gaming news, reviews, guides and latest news updates for online, mobile and video games. Available at: [Accessed 14 Aug. 2019]. (2019). Borderlands. [online] Available at:[Accessed 7 Aug. 2019].

Muncy, J., Muncy, J., Parham, J., Watercutter, A., Watercutter, A., Ellis, E., Matsakis, L. and Rubin, P. (2019). 2K Games Probed YouTuber Over Alleged ‘Borderlands 3’ Leaks. [online] WIRED. Available at: [Accessed 6 Aug. 2019].

O’Connor, A. (2019). 2K sent hired goons to a YouTuber over Borderlands 3 info leaks. [online] Rock Paper Shotgun. Available at: [Accessed 12 Aug. 2019].

Saed, S. (2019). Borderlands 3 publisher confirms sending private investigators after YouTuber over leaks – VG247. [online] VG247. Available at: [Accessed 13 Aug. 2019].

Nintendo and Their Public Relations 

Alexander, J. (2017). YouTubers are calling out Nintendo for its policy on streaming, uploads. [online] Polygon. Available at: [Accessed 14 Aug. 2019].

Batchelor, J. (2019). Nintendo clamps down on YouTube game music channels. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2019].

Kaser, R. (2019). Nintendo seems to be striking its music off YouTube, and that sucks. [online] The Next Web. Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2019].

Life, N. (2019). Nintendo Music Copyright Takedowns Intensify As Another Prominent YouTuber Gets Hit. [online] Nintendo Life. Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2019].

Marfo, N. (2019). PLAYING FAIR: YOUTUBE, NINTENDO, AND THE LOST BALANCE OF ONLINE FAIR USE. Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial & Commercial Law, 13(2), pp.465-489.

Nintendo. (2019). Legal. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Aug. 2019]. (2019). Nintendo Copyright Policy. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Aug. 2019].

Ribaudo, N. (2017). Youtube, Video Games, and Fair Use: Nintendo’s Copyright Infringement Battle with Youtube’s Let’s Plays and Its Potential Chilling Effects. Berkeley Journal of Entertainment and Sports Law, 6, pp.114-138.

6 Comments on “How Does Negative Public Relations Impact the Gaming Industry

  1. PITCH

    The presentation of your video is outstanding as it is organised, neat and presentable. You broke up the video into the required subheadings, which makes it easy for the viewer to see what you were talking about. The subheadings bering highlighted in yellow makes it contrast well with the grey background and the writing underneath it. The sound quality is amazing and your pacing is great. Your concept is clear because in your ‘discussion topics’ segment you clearly numbered which topics and questions you’ll focus on. You have also explained which examples you will be using to support your case. I also like how you specified which kinds of paratexts you’ll employ to develop your game media analysis. Your project plain is spot on for you clearly state you’re doing a visual essay. You also explained the location as to where you’ll share it and also specified potential project plans you might consider (podcast). Feedback loops are essential to receiving feedback from audiences and you brought it up in your video really well. The justification of your utility in terms of target audience and purpose has been explained well. In terms of where you can improve, you did not add anything in the YouTube description box informing the audience as to what your project was about. Maybe before you were ending your video, you could have added an ending slide just so it didn’t abruptly end. You had a title page but not an ending one. The ‘utility’ section didn’t have any images so I maybe you could have added a few just so it felt consistent. Overall, brilliant work as you are definitely on the right track.


    You have written your blog post extremely well as it’s sophisticated with its word choice, spelling, grammar etc. Again, I love how you used relevant subheadings in the blog to break it up. You haven’t repeated the information said in the video and elaborate well on audience agreement, format and the analytical framework. You having a timeline is fantastic and you clearly state what you intended to do and achieve each week. You’ve categorised your reference list, making it highly organised and you have arranged them in alphabetical order too. This source, a blog, may come in handy for your artefact. It details the difference between making public relations for video games and for other products etc. focused in Mexico. Overall, brilliant work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Video Pitch

    I felt like your video was well done!
    I do however, think it would’ve been even better if you had spaced out the text a bit more as it was a lot to take in on one slide.
    As well, you kept refering to 2K games and a incident that happened with them, I have not previously heard of this incident and I
    doubt some others have either – so If you had elaborated on it as a example I think it could have made your topic more clear to a wider audience.

    Blog Post

    I like how you formatted your blog post! You also elaborated a bit on the 2K games incident which was helpful in understanding your pitch more.
    Your post had clearly defined sections which made everything super easy to understand!
    I especially enjoyed how you formatted your timeline points into a range.
    You we’re super detailed throughout the post and had many references which show how much time you put into researching this topic!
    Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Video
    I really loved the use of headings to split up your points; it was very efficient and made it clear what you were talking about throughout. Your use of images was also very useful as it increased the clarity of your points further. I will say however that the amount of information in the pitch was sometimes a little overwhelming and I had trouble sometimes following both what you were saying and what was written on each slide. I understand that this was probably due to the time restraint on the video and you understandably wanted to include as much information as possible, however I think that some of the written information could have been just as effective if it were placed in the blog post rather than the video itself. I also noticed that the description of the video on YouTube is empty and would probably be beneficial to fill with at least a short summary of the project.

    I loved your blog post I can’t think of much to improve it other than what I previously mentioned. The structure was very well done with the use of headings and dot-points. The background around the Borderlands copyright incident was very informative and helpful especially as I had no prior knowledge on this. It was very clear exactly what you will be questioning in this DA and I appreciated you setting out a clear timeline on how and when you will approach it. One thing I would like to point out is that I believe you repeated some information a few times and perhaps the pitch would benefit from cutting down some of the repeating points both in your blog and video.
    Also since you mentioned that you will be engaging with an audience via twitter and reddit it might be helpful to link or tell your audience where they can find you on these.
    This source might also be useful for you as it details the process of Media Relations of the Wii in Canada.

    But overall this pitch is very informative and detailed and you did a really good job!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Critical Self-Reflection of Comments – Lusuey

  5. Hey Elissa! Wow, what an interesting array of topics you’re exploring here! As someone who wasn’t familiar with these topics before reading your post, I’m really intrigued to see how to explore and showcase with your own creativity about them. Your video was really simple and easy to understand, which is great. Only thing that would have helped me (as a simpleton) was the pacing, but it’s not a real issue! Your post was so through and gave a perfect overview of what you’re going to be doing! I can’t wait to see what you do with all this fantastic research and I’ll definitely be in tune!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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